Skip to comments.Power-grid experiment could confuse electric clocks
Posted on 06/24/2011 11:36:30 PM PDT by John W
WASHINGTON A yearlong experiment with America's electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast.
The group that oversees the U.S. power grid is proposing an experiment that would allow more frequency variation than it does now without corrections, according to a company presentation obtained by The Associated Press.
Officials say they want to try this to make the power supply more reliable, save money and reduce what may be needless efforts. The test is tentatively set to start in mid-July, but that could change.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
It must be true, look at the freerepublic clock compared to your computer.
In Newspeak, random uncorrected frequency variations equals more reliable.
Rushing to third world status.
Oh great! The AC line frequency in the US has been 60HZ since the beginning of time. Do these people realize how many devices and processes will be screwed up by this? A lot of machinery relies on induction motors who’s running speed is reliant on line frequency.
Thats what I was thinking when I posted this, unless I’m missing something.
According to the article the maximum variation would be about 14 seconds a day.
Thanks for one more late night opportunity to share...
Right, but, the point is if you have a motor chosen for an application-and there are an almost infinite number of different applications-and you’ve chosen one that runs at 1770 RPM because that is exactly what you need for that application and everything involved is set for that requirement, with this “experiment” that could apparently vary at any given moment-I think. It seems to me its more complicated than a bunch of messed up clocks.
I’m thinking their idea is that they want to boost the line voltage to compensate for I2R loses caused by peak demand. The only way they can do that without changing the infrastucture is to run their alternators at a higher speed, which up’s the line frequency. This doesn’t affect most electronic devices because they use various DC power supplies, along with internal timebases.
Maybe they’ll inadvertently cause a huge black-out.
Been there, done that. Oil rigs have their own light plants, generators which provide power for the drill site.
In the past, when those were not necessarily kept up to snuff, we had variations in the frequency of power provided. Which means electric motors wore out far quicker, (from the large motors that ran pumps, right down to the little motors which ran chart drives on gas monitoring equipment. On occasion, the power was so bad, electronic devices would not function.
Now they want to do this to the grid?
Which means your home goodies won’t function as advertised, aqnd their lifespan will be shortened, from your furnace blower and air conditioner, refrigerator, washer, dryer, right down to the little pump that blows bubbles in your fish tank.
Thanks for the link. This smart grid had “ultimate control” written all over it as far as I was concerned. Glad to see someone out there has this pegged for what it is.
So the errors would always be in the same direction (clocks run fast) and would be cumulative?
Smartgrid: I can’t think of a better reason to get OFF the grid.
Right now I do no use televisions for anything, not even viewing movies.
I’ve been thinking of getting rid of the land line, but cell phones are unattractive as an alternative.
I’m thinking of all kinds of ways to get away from my small town way of living.
Yes, if they rely on line frequency, they would run fast and gain time. Some appliances that have a digital clock (stoves, microwaves) DO use line frequency as as timebase. I found this out when I ran a microwave off a portable generator once. The countdown on the cooking timer went way faster than normal.
Sounds like a job creation scam. We’ll have to consume more and pump more money into our failing economy.
If industrial power is monkeyed with as well as residential, the effects could be devastating as MTBF cycles are accelerated, equipment fails prematurely and must be replaced.
What better way to further cripple an ailing economy than destroy the little engines which run it?
Not to mention the potential for damage to electronic systems which could cause chaos.
I hear that. I the plant I work in, you would not believe the carnage that is caused by something is simple as a brownout, even if it lasts a split second. I have spent hours recovering machine operations over that.
Hoo boy, the IEEE will be in their faces about this and for good reason. I do not know how these Obamonkeys figure they can horse around with the frequency and timing of residential power without touching industrial power. Of course, sites like hospitals that need super clean power will have motor generator units on site already, but if the driving motor is synced to the power line frequency even they will be scrod. This would be like an impromptu test for Y2K carried out in 1996.
Don’t worry, the government will issue coupons so that the po’ folk can buy new crystal-controlled clocks and microwaves at a reduced price.
The time to do this would have been years in advance of the “test.”
This Administration can’t even make the clocks run on time.
Do these people realize how many devices and processes will be screwed up by this? A lot of machinery relies on induction motors whos running speed is reliant on line frequency.
I suppose you could look at this in two ways.
1. It’s time to screw around with the public even more and in ways that are hard to detect. Thus messing up individual and public perceptions of everything.
2. Trying to mess up as many reliable and ‘older’ machinery processes so that business and individuals will need to invest in newer more ‘reliable’ machinery. That can also be controlled through the smart meters, oh by the way.
Dear Lord forgive me, I am getting to be very paranoid.
What is this going to do to computers? Or UPC backup units?
In other words: We want to do a half-fast job with more money.
Well, if a "business professor" says it's OK.......
i would not be surprised if Obama wishes for all generators to immediately start putting out 400MHz frequency instead of 6MHz, why?
Just to screw America.
Oh and they do have 400MHz generators, on most aircraft and a whole heck of a lot of military powerplants.
Freakin’ amazing - we brag about our techno superiority and then use a lowering of quality as a “fix”. While more and more stuff runs on DC power and has switched to digital, there is still a lot out there that will become unreliable and/or more short-lived. Electric motors don’t like constant variations or to run at a different Hz than designed for - American appliances tended to burn out fairly quick in Italy due to the frequency change.
” In the future, more use of renewable energy from the sun and wind will mean more variations in frequency on the grid, McClelland said. Solar and wind power can drop off the grid with momentary changes in weather. Correcting those deviations is expensive and requires instant backup power to be always at the ready, he said. “
Next-to-the-last-paragraph hidden agenda money quote....
I think it can get a lot more spectacular than messed up clocks. If the entire interconnect is not kept within a few percent of synchronized, you could end up with destroyed generators at power plants. Common problem with home generators, if not equipped with proper disconnect, grid power comes back on and the home generator is destroyed because it was not synchronized with the grid. I doubt that there are many large (megawatt) gensets sitting in warehouses waiting to be installed, and even those that are in warehouses, are going to take days to install.
I was wondering if anyone else caught that.
So this whole affair (which has the potential to be the real Y2K) is to try to accommodate the unreliability of "green" energy. Let's hope when the experiment fails, it doesn't bring down the entire grid.
If Obama is so brilliant, why does he put idiots in charge? (I am sure he didn't think of this one or have even the foggiest notion of what it means).
That’s why one fellow in the article stated that a lot of things would break and we wouldn’t know why.
Well, we know the libs will blame Bush.
86,400 seconds in a day and a variation of 14 seconds in that period. Will that variation impact most operations in any significant manner? I’m not speaking of the most critical whatever they are determined to be but of the normal say household items.
The article focuses on just that and doesn’t seem to address the critical items and what effect there will be on those. If I have to reset things at home every so often, who cares? If the local water plant’s pump motors burn up on a weekly basis, thats another story.
Another great point. And, scheduled to start here in a couple weeks and this is the first that I am aware of that the information has been widely disseminated. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if you are exactly right.
America’s power grid: reliable electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
One of the few things left in America that still works correctly and separates us from third world cesspits.
Obama is trying to destroy the power system by shutting down coal mines and coal generators.
But that’s not working fast enough so now they are going to “fix” a system that’s not broken.
We had an acre of CNC tools running, and lost one phase. Some of the parts were titanium. It took days to recover, and still a lot of scrap was made.
Thanks for the link. Very interesting and revealing article.
That makes me think of the paper mill I used to work at when they had their own generators and the issues syncing with public utility power when one was restarted after being down. Might make that even more difficult than I recall unless something has changed over the years.
Montgomery County, MD, eh not so much.
In one of the ten richest counties in the USA we have Pepco, which for the last two decades has been striving for third world capability. We might very well have the highest full house back-up generator per housing unit rate in the country.
Piss poor mgmt incapable of fore seeing the rapid growth which should have been evident from construction permit applications both in housing unit quantity and increased load per unit. Add the increased load imposed by consumer electrical goods on the aging existing housing stock coupled with the ultra liberal political structure it's a wonder that we don't have more outages than we do.
The same circumstances hold true for the Northern Virginia areas that Pepco serves.
Where I live transformers blow with regularity 5 or 6 times a year. (That's both pole and ground installations installed in the 60's.)
The local Lowe's starting selling 100 count AAA and AA batteries that coincided with the introduction of cheaper and more efficient LED emergency lighting. And they are sold out almost as soon as they hit the shelves. Now clerks just nod their their heads knowingly and say, "Pepco, right".
Well, this experiment may result in you having a lot of company across the nation. Probably some of the brilliant minds behind this live in those territories and don’t realize how well the grid works in MOST of the rest of the country.
Just so,as both the DC suburbs in MD and VA also have the highest concentrations of upper tier Gov employees and their consultants and lobbyists. Not only are they willfully ignorant, they truly flat out don't care about the rest of the country. Paraphrasing Marie Antoinette, "Black outs? Let them buy generators."
***A lot of machinery relies on induction motors whos running speed is reliant on line frequency.***
Further more, all generators on the same grid run at the same frequency, 60 hz. They are electricly tied together. The variable range of frequency is 57.5 to 62 hz. Anything under or over these ranges will automaticly trip off the generating units.
To send power from one grid to another the generating units must convert the AC electric load to high frequency DC power and the receiving grid must use a “static converter” to return the DC power to AC in their frequency range.
Actually, at the beginning of the electric era, the frequency was zero cycles per second. ≤}B^)
Later, several (nonzero) frequencies were used, such as 16.666... and 25 Hz. For heavy industrial uses such as electric railways, some of those low frequencies are still used.
[[Being a EE but not of the power variety, I have often wondered about the engineering considerations that resulted in the use of such low frequencies for industrial purposes even after consumer power in North America was settled at 60 cycles.]]